In Part #1 of this blog series we began considering the cost of Paul’s prayer “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection” from Philippians 3:10. Simply stated, the cost is to be set apart for Christ, having surrendered all for the sake of Christ’s glory (check out Philippians 3:7-9 to understand part one of the cost). Most Christians upon hearing of the cost, would agree to “know” Jesus intimately and be filled with the “power of His resurrection” is worth the pain. Yet we must dig further in order to fully understand the blessing and cost for desiring to know Him and the power of His resurrection”.
(If you have yet to read the first part of this blog To “Know Him” Is Worth the Pain, click here… https://4rs4thechurch.com/2018/06/28/to-know-him-is-worth-the-pain-1/)
(Philippians 3:10) That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
At first glance there is a natural want to spiritualize the powerful truth contained in the phrases “fellowship of His sufferings” and “being made conformable to His death”. To do this would be a terrible and egregious error, for If we want to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit, which is to “know Him and the power of His resurrection”, we must share in the fellowship of His sufferings”. Yes we must consider this as a cost, but it is also a distinct and blessed privilege.
(Philippians 1:29) For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.
This privilege and cost is not just for the elite but the rank and file believer as well; as for all early believers as well (John 15:18-21). Yet what does it mean to share in the fellowship of His sufferings? The word “fellowship” means to partake or participate in another’s experience. In this case it means to enter into similar sufferings encountered by Jesus, because like Him we live totally for God’s will. This does not always mean we literally need to die a horrible death, but what it does mean is daily we must lay our lives down for Him. Please read the following passages to understand what it means to share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings.
- (John 15:18-21) Sharing in the “fellowship of His sufferings” means we stand out like a flame in the darkness, because our lives are so different than those around us; our lives reveal God’s holy character, His judgment, humanity’s sin and God’s remedy in Christ.
- (Jeremiah 15:15-18) Sharing in the “fellowship of His sufferings” means like Jeremiah we have such an inward passion for God’s will, by the Holy Spirit’s fullness, it must come out, which forces isolation and wounds by those you love, who abandon you as you are abandoned to Christ.
- (Isaiah 53:3-4) Sharing in the “fellowship of His sufferings” means we become despised, rejected, acquainted with grief, like a consistent unwanted companion.
- (Isaiah 53:4) Sharing in the “fellowship of His sufferings” means instead of being vindicated for the good in us, we have the shame of other’s sin laid upon us. When others sin, we are blamed.
- (Isaiah 50:4-5) Sharing in the “fellowship of His sufferings” means despite the pain of sharing in Christ’s sufferings, instead of turning away God speaks calling us to greater obedience.
- (Isaiah 50:6-7) Sharing in the “fellowship of His sufferings” means we who are being made conformable to His death are to gladly suffer the loss of all things (Philippians 3:7-9), as Paul described and ultimately lived daily in the truth “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippines 1:21)
This may seem too much to ask, but what of Jesus Himself. Let us consider that Jesus is the Living Word of God. Before writing was invented, He knew that one day, as the only Begotten Son of God, He would be formed in human flesh, live perfectly, be falsely accused, mocked and tortured to death; yet He suffered for us. So how do we participate with Him in His sufferings? As we experience the fellowship of His sufferings we must hold to the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5-8), rejoicing that we get to suffer on His behalf. All that being said, can we declare with confidence that those costs of knowing Jesus and the power of His resurrection are worth the pain? The answer is a resounding yes.
The cost is worth the pain, because we are guaranteed to see Jesus face to face, should we endure to the end (I John 3:1-3). This is the most important and enduring hope we have as believers in Christ, yet the cost is worth the pain, also because the road we travel in sharing in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings runs directly through the “Valley of the Shadow of Death”
(Psalm 23:4-5) Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
Let us take note that in the difficulty of sharing in Christ’s sufferings, we know “You are with me” and not only do we know He is with us, but we received copious blessing in the midst of that trouble.
Therefore the cost is worth the pain because…
- His sufferings reveal hidden things unseen outside the fire of affliction (Psalm 119:67, 71).
- The fellowship of sufferings is where we encounter Abba’s love greatest (Romans 8:14-17)
- Sufferings make us hungry for heaven (Romans 8:18; II Corinthians 4:17; I John 3:1-3). Hold on to His promises.
- In the fellowship of suffering we can excel in loving Jesus with the love He gave us in the cross (Hebrews 12:2).
Knowing Jesus and the power of His resurrection is worth the pain!